Season In Review: Ty Lawson

Denver Nuggets point guard excelled in first full season as a starter
by Aaron Lopez

With the 2011-12 season in the books, is taking a closer at the team’s primary rotation players and how they fared during a challenging 66-game schedule. Denver assistant coach Chad Iske was kind enough to provide candid assessments, which reflect the views of the Nuggets coaching staff as a whole.

Today’s featured player is Ty Lawson, who enjoyed a breakout season in his first full year as a starting point guard.

Building upon a strong finish to 2010-11, Lawson averaged career-highs in nearly every statistically category, including points (16.4), assists (6.6), rebounds (3.7) and steals(1.34).

He also performed well in the playoffs, averaging 19 points and six assists during the Nuggets’ seven-game series against the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite his status as Denver’s emerging star, Lawson remained focused on the team rather than himself.

“I think it’s everybody’s team,” he said. “We’re all young and working towards getting better. I wouldn’t say it’s my team. It’s all of our team.”

Lawson, 24, played some of the best basketball of his career in the first three games after the All-Star break. He was named Western Conference player of the week after becoming the first Nuggets player since Fat Lever in April 1989 to average at least 20 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds over a three-game stretch.

Often playing alongside veteran Andre Miller, Lawson also showed the ability to score from the shooting guard position. He averaged 18.9 points and shot 42.5 percent from three-point range over Denver’s final 20 games.

Despite the impressive numbers, there’s plenty of room for Lawson to grow. That’s an exciting prospect for Nuggets fans and a frightening one for the rest of the NBA.

Chad Iske’s 2011-12 Evaluation
“After the All-Star break, he became more assertive as a leader running the offense rather than going with the flow. He took on more responsibility to be the leading part of it instead of just another guy out there. He shot the ball better. He was more aggressive attacking the hoop and being a facilitator.

Summer Improvements
“He admittedly would say he’s got to take another step in being a catalyst every night. Now that he’s a starter and leader on this team, he has to put the pressure on himself every night to play the right way and play hard. Obviously not everybody’s going to play great and make every shot every night, but he has to bring that attitude and mentality that he’s going to be there pushing it every night and pushing us every night.”

One Word That Best Describes Lawson

Game to Remember
There are plenty of choices here. Lawson put up 22 points and a career-high 15 assists on March 2 at Houston, and he struck for 29 points and 10 assists at Phoenix on April 21. His best performance, however, came in Game 6 of the playoffs as he scored 32 points on 13-of-18 shooting to help the Nuggets force Game 7 against the Lakers.

Stat That Bears Re-Tweeting
7 – Total turnovers during a four-game stretch from Feb. 29-March 5. Lawson had 48 assists during that span. For the season, his 2.69-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio ranked seventh among NBA point guards who averaged at least 30 minutes per game.